Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Firsts and Lasts

3:05 PM 2 Comments
I write today from a strange vantage point. Nearly a year ago, we made a very rapid and life-changing decision to move to Montana. Sean would begin his new job as a district administrator, the boys would start at a new school, and I would figure it out once I got there. We'd sell our house, buy a new one, and start anew.

Breakfast at No Sweat Cafe - The First Day of School
It has been ten months since we arrived here. We haven't sold our house yet, nor have we bought a new one. I spent my fortieth year mostly unemployed and without a home of our own, and it was wonderful. Who gets to do that? I hiked a lot and made a ton of new friends and was able to check in on the boys at school and even occasionally have lunch with them or chaperone a field trip. I could keep them home if they weren't feeling well without having to have those late night whispered conversations with my husband about the next day's schedule. I read books and learned my way around my new town and became an excellent winter driver. I attempted to get this blog up and running again and at least got in a handful of entries to anchor this time. I did not write the next great American novel, but I did attempt to learn to ski. I went grocery shopping whenever I wanted and ran errands and went out for a lot of lunches. I watched the way that the seasons change the trails that I have learned so well. I've seen the mountains shift from green to white to green again. I exercised a lot and read countless Zillow postings and planned trips and tried to keep up with the boys ever-evolving interests. It has been the best year ever.

Breakfast at No Sweat Cafe - The Last Day of School
And, because I'm a girl who likes a theme, I treated myself to a solo breakfast at No Sweat Cafe on the first and the last days of school. I ate the same meal and sat at the same table and wrote in the same journal. 

We're still living in a bizarre liminal space (Sean always tells me that this is such a Grinnell word. I happen to love it), and it looks like we will continue to hang out in limbo for the foreseeable future. We've learned a lot this year, though, and hopefully are coming out of it stronger than we started. 

I'll keep you posted.

To everyone that has been along on the journey, thanks for the love and support! Onto the best summer ever...

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

I Heart Artichokes

7:53 AM 0 Comments
This is a throwback post that I am mostly writing for my own archival purposes. See, from 2011 - 2013, this blog was largely a reflection of my life as a stay at home mama: lots of projects, lots of kid stuff, and lots of recipes. To date there are over a hundred posts here, many of which feature cooking and baking. I still use this blog a lot to find my own recipes, especially now that my cookbook collection is in a box (who am I kidding, make it about ten boxes) in a storage unit in Wyoming. 

This is probably my all-time favorite recipe to make for people. If you've had a baby or had surgery or had a loss in the family, this is probably what I made for you. And yet I never blogged about it. And so, because I need it to exist digitally, I'm taking a few minutes this morning to type it out.

Sean first made this for me when we were living in our tiny Missoula apartment sixteen years ago. It's the only entry in my recipe journal that is in his handwriting. It is perfect comfort food.

Artichoke Rice Casserole


2 boxes Rice a Roni Long Grain and Wild Rice
2 Tbsp. butter
3 1/3 c. water
1/2 c. breadcrumbs
3 c. shredded cheddar
2 cans artichoke hearts, chopped
2 large tomatoes, diced
1 c. mayonaisse
1 c. plain yogurt

1. Prepare Rice a Roni according to package directions (using butter and water).
2. While that is simmering, chop the artichokes and dice the tomatoes. Mix them together.
3. Combine the mayo and yogurt until smooth.
4. Spread prepared rice in the bottom of a 9x13 pan. Spread breadcrumbs over the rice.
5. Sprinkle half the cheese over the top. Spread the artichoke/tomato mix over that.
6. Spread the mayo/yogurt mix over the veggies. Finish with rest of cheese.
7. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.


Thursday, January 25, 2018

It's All Downhill From Here

10:31 AM 3 Comments
I made my Montana ski debut two weeks ago today. It was hard and scary and maybe a little fun but the joy honestly came from the satisfaction of accomplishment. I wanted to love it. I didn't, at least not yet, but I have two more lessons to progress.

When I first arrived, I was waiting in The Schoolhouse at the base of the bunny hill. There was a group of fifth graders just finishing up on the hill. Helena has this great program wherein the fifth graders at every elementary school get a day of skiing/instruction and, along with it, a free season pass. It was a large group that day maybe three classes of students, and they were everywhere. There was a girl sitting inside the Schoolhouse who was clearly choosing not to participate. She had thick brown hair and glasses and had that somewhat awkward/not-quite-comfortable-in-my-changing-body look. While her classmates skied, she sat inside with a unicorn notebook, some colored pens, and a little pouch full of fruity lip balms.

Talk about mirrors. I sat there, and maybe even teared up a little, seeing eleven-year-old me, afraid to take physical challenges, afraid to try something that I might not be good at, choosing instead the safe, warm, but not really fun glass windowed space. Eleven-year-old me sitting opposite forty-year-old me. Feeling out of place, too old for the task at hand, a little embarrassed and a lot scared to be unable to do this thing that most of my friends here have been doing since they could walk.

The thing is, I turned out okay. I may not shred it on the ski hill, but I can do lots of other things really well. And at some point in life, I became a risk taker.  I wanted to hug that girl, and I wish I had at least spoken to her and asked her what she loves to do.

Instead, I tightened my boots, pulled on a neck warmer, and faced my fear. It was by no means a resounding success, but I'm glad I finally went outside.